Heavy-duty trucks have transformed in the past decade. No longer are these massive haulers merely appliances – most, if not all, modern HD trucks offer lavish leather-appointed cabins, lots of technology, and highly advanced powertrains. And the 2020 Ram 2500 is certainly no exception.
Extensively refreshed for 2019, the Ram 2500 gains sharp new visuals and, most notably, FCA's newest in-house tech. And although it still technically uses the same platform as the previous generation – albeit heavily revised with additional high-strength steel – the big pickup has a smoother ride and offers even more in the way of safety and towing than ever before. All told, the Ram 2500 is a front-runner in a segment teeming with good alternatives.
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The Ram 2500 is visually similar to the smaller 1500 in many ways. The heavy-duty 2500 uses near-identical LED headlights, a massive blacked-out grille, taillights, and a few other features styled from its lesser sibling. In the case of our tester, it gains added aesthetic toughness via a $2,295 Night Edition package, which adds package-specific 20-inch gloss black wheels, exterior badging, mirror caps, and a handful of other blacked-out features. And that enhanced styling works.This was a very handsome truck – now it’s a very handsome and mean-looking truck.
The Ram 2500's interior isn't any less eye-catching. Again, like the smaller 1500, the 2500 gets the available 12.0-inch Uconnect central touchscreen (versus the standard 5.0-inch screen or the optional 8.4-incher) housed in a high-quality, gold-colored surround. Our tester wears the subtle yet stylish black leather upholstery on the seats, dash, and center console, and there's even a nice embroidered Ram logo atop the center armrest.
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The Ram 2500's cabin rivals that of many luxury cars we've driven. The leather has the same high-quality feel and finish as something more upscale, and both of those buckets offer heating and ventilation. There's a ton of cargo space; the huge center console can hold up to a 15-inch laptop. And with 40.9 inches of headroom and legroom, there's plenty of passenger space, too.
Like many trucks in the segments, the rear bench isn't any less roomy. With 40.3 inches of headroom and 43.1 inches of legroom, it rivals alternatives like the Ford Super Duty and GMC Sierra HD (and puts most full-size ultra-luxury sedans to shame)., There’s more than enough space for your six-foot-tall author to stretch out. Plus, the Ram 2500 offers the only reclining rear bench in the entire class.
Ram touts active noise canceling,and for the most part, this truck is very quiet on-road – quieter than most rivals. But the sound of the turbocharged 6.7-liter diesel engine still penetrates the cabin pretty noticeably, as does the road noise from the chunky 285/60R20E tires. These pickups can only be so isolated given their size.
Few setups are as good as the 12.0-inch touchscreen in this Ram. A $1,295 option on our Laramie tester, the massive screen runs the latest version of FCA's intuitive Uconnect. The setup offers crystal clear graphics, iPhone-like touch responsiveness, and both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Plus, it's one of the few screens in any car that has split functionality, meaning you can run CarPlay on the top portion of the screen and any of the baked-in functions on the lower half.
Additional equipment includes a 7.0-inch digital display within the instrument cluster, a wireless charger, located just in front of the center console, and three 115-volt outlets – all at no extra cost on this trim. Meanwhile, the $4,095 Level 2 Equipment Group adds two USB ports up front and a 17-speaker Harman Kardon sound system.
With the turbocharged 6.7-liter inline-six diesel engine (a $9,100 option) rather than the standard 6.4-liter gas V8, the Ram 2500 produces 370 horsepower and a whopping 850 pound-feet of torque. All that twist allows for a maximum towing figure of 19,680 in the right spec (Big Horn Regular Cab 4x2). Our Laramie Crew Cab tester tugs a bit less by comparison, 14,220 pounds, but that's still a hugely impressive figure.
But we didn’t do any towing in our week-long test, anyway. Instead, we judge the merits of that diesel engine as a daily commuter. And it's great. Prod the gas pedal and there's no lag nor hesitation – the Ram 2500 moves off the line with a refined quickness. The six-speed automatic shifts smoothly, too, and the air suspension provides a supremely cushy ride. But obviously, this is a 6,400-pound truck so don't expect exceptional handling.
The Ram 2500 is one of the few heavy-duty trucks with this much active safety equipment. The $1,095 Safety Group adds full-speed adaptive cruise control, steering assist, lane-keep assist, automatic high-beam headlamp control, and rain-sensitive wipers. These are great safety features that work well on road and make the massive 2500 more livable, especially if your daily commute involves bumper-to-bumper traffic, as ours does.
In terms of towing safety, the $1,095 Towing Technology Group adds a cargo-view camera, located in the truck bed, a 360-degree camera, and even trailer reverse guidance, which projects a picture of the rear hitch onto the 12.0-inch touchscreen.
The EPA doesn’t assess fuel economy for vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating north of 8,501 pounds, like the Ram 2500 and its competition. Therefore, we do not award any points for fuel economy. This score is not taken into account in the vehicle verdict.
Trucks are getting more expensive, and the Ram 2500 is not immune. Though the most-affordable trim(a base Tradesman model) costs an affordable $33,645, our tester (a mid-range Laramie model) starts at $49,450. And it gets much pricier with options. The diesel engine costs $9,100 over the gas V8, the Level 2 Equipment Group costs $4,095, and the Night Edition package costs $2,295. Not mentioning a selection of other options our tester wears, the final asking price for this truck is approximately $76,595
For comparison, the Ford F-250 Lariat costs $46,600 to start and the Chevrolet Silverado HD LTZ costs $52,095, both with their base gas engines. But Chevy asks $9,890 for its diesel option and Ford asks $10,495, so at least the Ram is more affordable in that respect.
Gallery: 2020 Ram 2500 Heavy Duty: Review
2020 Ram 2500 HD Laramie Night Edition 4x4